Politico: HUD to propose more hurdles to prove housing discrimination

Politico, July 31, 2019: HUD to propose more hurdles to prove housing discrimination

The Department of Housing and Urban Development is circulating a proposal to make it more difficult to bring discrimination claims under the Fair Housing Act.

The update to HUD’s 2013 disparate impact rule would require plaintiffs to meet a five-step threshold to prove unintentional discrimination, replacing the current three-step “burden-shifting” approach. It would also give defendants more leeway to rebut the claims, according to a copy of the proposal obtained by POLITICO.

It’s the latest effort by the Trump administration to roll back the Obama administration’s use of disparate impact — the legal theory that holds business and governments accountable for practices that disproportionately affect minorities even if no discrimination was intended — to root out discrimination.

Under the proposed rewrite, plaintiffs would have to establish that the challenged practice or policy is “arbitrary, artificial and unnecessary” and allege a “robust causal link” between the practice and the disparate impact.

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Redlining and Neighborhood Health

Before the pandemic devastated minority communities, banks and government officials starved them of capital.

Lower-income and minority neighborhoods that were intentionally cut off from lending and investment decades ago today suffer not only from reduced wealth and greater poverty, but from lower life expectancy and higher prevalence of chronic diseases that are risk factors for poor outcomes from COVID-19, a new study shows.

The new study, from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) with researchers from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health and the University of Richmond’s Digital Scholarship Lab, compared 1930’s maps of government-sanctioned lending discrimination zones with current census and public health data.

Table of Content

  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • Redlining, the HOLC Maps and Segregation
  • Segregation, Public Health and COVID-19
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion and Policy Recommendations
  • Citations
  • Appendix

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